ROME: Tommy Fleetwood enjoyed the winning moment as Europe regained the Ryder Cup from a battling United States on Sunday, wrapping up a 16.5-11.5 victory despite a blistering American singles charge.
The US remain without a win on European soil since 1993 while neither team have lifted the trophy away from home in 11 years.
With Europe needing half a point to get over the line, Fleetwood moved 2-up against Rickie Fowler with two holes to play after the American dumped his tee shot on the short par-four 16th into the water.
Fleetwood struck his drive into the heart of the green and calmly stroked his eagle putt to the holeside to ensure Europe a seventh consecutive home victory, before going on to win three and one.Rory McIlroy and Viktor Hovland led the way with early victories in the Rome sunshine and Jon Rahm also snatched half a point from Scottie Scheffler on the 18th green.
Luke Donald’s Europe started the day four points from lifting the trophy they lost in a record-breaking 19-9 thrashing at Whistling Straits two years ago.
Europe raced out of the blocks in the Rome sunshine before the US enjoyed a surge to quieten the huge home crowds, at one point leading in seven matches and tied in the other.
But Europe gathered themselves and ended up halving the singles session 6-6.There were jubilant scenes on the 18th green as the final match on the course between Shane Lowry and Jordan Spieth, which was halved, came to an end, with the Irishman hugging several team-mates on his way down the fairway.
Rahm grabbed a crucial half-point from a thrilling opening tussle with Scheffler by making birdie on the par-five 18th hole after the world number one thinned a chip across the green.
Hovland had already romped to a four and three victory over Collin Morikawa to take his personal tally for the event to 3.5 points, the same as Rahm. Patrick Cantlay edged out Justin Rose two and one.
Cantlay continued his good form from Saturday, when he made three straight birdies in his match with Wyndham Clark to beat McIlroy and Fitzpatrick, by handing Rose his first loss of the week.
McIlroy closed out a three and one victory over Sam Burns despite a late rally from the American.
Tyrrell Hatton overcame some nervy late moments to see off British Open champion Brian Harman on the 16th hole and put Europe on the cusp and 14-7 ahead.
Matthew Fitzpatrick missed a 19-foot birdie putt to win the Ryder Cup on the last hole as Max Homa kept the fate of the matchplay showdown just about in the balance.
Homa, who was the US’ best player at Marco Simone Golf and Country Club with 3.5 points, bravely opted to take a penalty drop from the rough for an unplayable lie but made a clutch up and down for par.
Brooks Koepka saw off Swedish sensation Ludvig Aberg three and two and Xander Schauffele beat Nicolai Hojgaard by the same scoreline to keep Europe waiting.
But Lowry calmed the nerves by pulling his match with Spieth to all-square on the 16th, clearing the way for Fleetwood to close it out moments later.
Published in Dawn, October 2nd, 2023